Tools of the Trade — Coopetition

All writers have their little tricks and shorthand to be better writers, and I am no different.  Some of what I do seems unnecessary while other things I do are almost unheard of from others.  What I do is what works for me and I share this with my followers (both present and future) in hopes that it helps other writers.


Such a stranger word. Basically it is combining Competition and Cooperation together, much like frenemy is a combination of friend and enemy, and is parallel in definition of Coopetition.

So what is Coopetition. By the root words, it seems to be a concept of working together for a common goal while also competiting against the person helping you. Now there’s a concept.

In short, Coopetition is when two parties work together to reach a higher product value even though they are competiting against each other for their own higher value. Basically, we can do better as allies than against each other as enemies.

So how does this benefit writers? Johanna Penn spoke of this in her book How to Market a Book. Like I said in my previous review of her book, there is a LOT of helpful advice in there. I can’t stress that enough.

She gives an example of this by telling you to not see authors of your genre as competition, but as potential collaborators on marketing projects.

All writers have to market themselves, and the more your name gets out there, the greater the opportunity for you to sale your books. So if another author mentions you, isn’t that to your benefit? And the tradeoff being you mentioning them in kind? Their audience looks at your book and your audience looks at theirs…it’s a win/win scenario.

Seems simple enough, yet I’ve met many writers that this concept seems foreign to them. They rather solely focus on themselves and all profit earning they keep to themselves. If they give any help to anyone else, they give as little as they can and hope to get a lot for nothing.

I spoke to a writer that I tried to talk about us helping each other, and his response was, “If I get some free time, I’ll see if there is something I can do for you.” Honestly, empty words when you consider that what you can do for a fellow writer takes little out of your time in promoting yourself.

This age of social netowrking, doing something yourself and become highly successful is next to impossible. It can be done, but you are better off helping your fellow writer than only doing things for yourself. It goes a little bit into social karma, that if someone retweets you, then you should retweet them. If someone follows you, you should either follow them back or at the very least, thank them.

This goes beyond social karma, though it can influence it just the same. Choose your social network, there is a community of writers. The more you put into that community, the more you will get out of it, more than you do on your own. More than that, what you can do for a fellow writer should be what they can do for you.

So what can you do for your fellow writer:

  • Write a review for each others book.
  • Guest blog on each others blog.
  • Retweet each other
  • Work on a book together
  • Tweet each others book
  • Put a chapter of your upcoming story in their book (and do for them in your book)
  • Beta read each others story

There are a great many things you can do. Now the hard part is finding people to reciprocate. You can start off doing this for other writers, and you will get much social brownie points, and you might get a little bit in return. But stick with it. Rome wasn’t built in a day…or even a week.

It’s one of those things that you’ve got to keep putting yourself out there to the community and keep trying. Trust me, your efforts will be reward.

So what about me? It’s easy to preach the correct step, am I also a follower? I aim to create my own micro-community of writers that have direct contact with each other that work to promote each other. It’s still a work in progress, and I’m quite selective of who can be a part of it. Not to be snobbish and exclude others to feel superior, but I want to make sure that any person a part of this will work hard to help others and not join for their own benefit.

Remember, what you can do for your other writers, other writers can do for you. The more your name gets out there, the more recognition you can obtain, the more in sale you can get…just be sure to return the favor.

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